Friday, 1 May 2015

confusion & complexity

Well hello there person reading this, I never know what to write for the first line of these. But that seems sufficient. How long has it been? A month? Ahhhhhhh today is/was (it's 1:29am so it's basically the 2nd but shhhh) the 1st of May. THE FIRST OF MAY. How?????? This has been the quickest school year of my life. It's so terrifying. I feel like this month/exam season just kind of collapsed onto me all of a sudden since I didn't think time would go so quickly. My exams start on the 22nd of May (this month D: help D:) and end on June 19th (the day my chill will be restored.) But I just need to study hard until then so I can enjoy my summer. But that requires motivation, which I have but find hard to actually put it to action enough-so to get a substantial amount of work/revision done. Although being the nerd I am I do enjoy studying as long as I have enough time (which I do if I organise it correctly so hopefully it will all be okay.)

 The topic of this post I think is going to be decisions. Ooooo how even the word alone makes me feel anxiety. There are so many types of decisions, obviously, and most of which are uninteresting, but they're not the ones I want to talk about. The fact that such big decisions like universities and choosing courses etc are ahead of me makes me absolutely terrified. I am such an indecisive person, even with everyday things, how am I supposed to be decisive for such a massive thing that's going to impact the entire course of my life?! I'm seventeen so as expected most of my decisions are either 1. just bad and careless 2. stupid and time-wasting or 3. unimportant since I am only seventeen so really it should be the age to get bad decisions out of your system and learn from them. But it's not, instead we have to go off of so little life experience and knowledge and decide 1. where we live on our own for the next 4 years, 2. what we want to study for at least 3/4 years and 3. what career we want to end up with for the REST OF OUR LIVES. What. The. HELL.

 If you know me IRL you probably already know this but due to my weird mix of A levels (bio, chem, english lit & geog,) if I get good grades (ha ha ha ha ha wishful thinking) I have SO many course options which I could apply for (I know everyone does, but most don't want to apply for english lit and medicine. So of COURSE I'm one of the ones who do.) I really appreciate advice grown-ups can give us on these things but I also really dislike people thinking they know me better than I know myself. I had a conversation with my auntie nuala last weekend when I was showing her my creative writing coursework based on 2 Arthur Miller plays, and this was a part of the conversation:

Her: "You love English, don't you?"
Me: "Yes, it's my favourite subject."
Her: "So do that."
Me: "But I also love science and part of me thinks I would really love to be a doctor and spend my life helping individual people."
Her: "So do that."

- Can you see my dilemma? Even my absolute angel of an auntie can't give me advice. There is NO HOPE. The fact of the matter is I'm going to do either and probably always kind of wish I did the other. Actually that's a lie - the fact of the matter is that I'm going to fail all of my A levels, or at least do not-well-enough, and these things won't be an option and then I'll really be a mess. But that's another vent for another time, right?

 So if you're in the same position as me and are confused about catalytic decisions like these, and no advice really helps, and that whole epiphany-moment that would happen at the perfect moment if our lives were movies where we realise what we truly want just doesn't happen; we can do this. I can sense it. My life has been so weird lately and I've went through weird periods of time (e.g like a week-long period) where I just don't feel like myself and everything I do/say feels wrong and fake. But I've also had a few periods of clarity that have given me this underlying instinct that all of this will work out. And hey, if it doesn't, it might make for some good writing.


I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.  From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked.  One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out.  I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.

- Sylvia Plath

“...In books there's always somebody standing by ready to say hey, the world's in danger, evil's on the rise, but if you're really quick and take this ring and put it in that volcano over there everything will be fine.

"But in real life that guy never turns up. He's never there. He's busy handing out advice in the next universe over. In our world no one ever knows what to do, and everyone's just as clueless and full of crap as everyone else, and you have to figure it all out by yourself. And even after you've figured it out and done it, you'll never know whether you were right or wrong. You'll never know if you put the ring in the right volcano, or if things might have gone better if you hadn't. There's no answers in the back of the book.” 

- Lev Grossman

I love people. Everybody. I love them, I think, as a stamp collector loves his collection. Every story, every incident, every bit of conversation is raw material for me. My love's not impersonal yet not wholly subjective either. I would like to be everyone, a cripple, a dying man, a whore, and then come back to write about my thoughts, my emotions, as that person. But I am not omniscient. I have to live my life, and it is the only one I'll ever have. And you cannot regard your own life with objective curiosity all the time.

- Sylvia Plath (another quote - i love her.)

 Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
- Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
 And miles to go before I sleep. 


Thursday, 2 April 2015

what is my life

Hey there anyone-reading-this, it's been a while. I don't even know HOW time has gone by so fast, lower sixth has been the quickest and thus the scariest school year of my life. I remember really liking my last post and so wanting to not-post for a while, and that just kind of dragged on more than I intended. Anyway, SO much has happened since my last post. I'm basically a different person. Not really. Kind of.

 February and March were extremely fun months for me, with my birthday,a political short film project I was involved in and different little trips to Dublin and fun things like work experience. The film project I was a part of was called Reel Politics and the aim of it was to inspire more young women to become involved in the male-dominated field of Politics. It was such an incredible experience, I met so many lovely people and made some really amazing friendships I probably never would have made otherwise since people came from all over NI to participate, I learned so much and most of all, I got to be a part of something important.

~ What I wore to the pre-Christening fundraising concert and then the Christening itself, feat some selfies, the prettiest Free People dress and a Black Leather Jacket Club photo with my Dad. Ha. ~

All 3 teams were assigned a topic relevant to the underrepresentation of women in politics to focus on, whilst still making the importance of women in politics the main theme. The topic my team was assigned was domestic abuse. Honestly, initially I was disappointed, but as I learned more about the topic I soon realised how it was easily the most important and political change towards it could change the lives of so many people, and we had the chance to help achieve that. The project was full of fascinating round-table discussions which I truly really enjoyed as everyone had such differing viewpoints and it made it so interesting, we got to learn from professional Researchers on the topic who were so smart and cool to talk to; and then lots of interviews with politicians and forming the best questions to ask them (which is harder than it sounds!), and a few artsy film shots to balance it (many of which didn't end up being used in the final film, but were still fun to shoot.) I got to have such good, genuine conversations with politicians, including ones I admired and ones I really didn't agree with on most of their views, but I was respectful and friendly nonetheless, and it was so interesting and it honestly changed my perspective on so many things. I now feel like an expert in the topic of women in NI politics and domestic abuse. WHAT DO I DO WITH ALL THIS KNOWLEDGE. I AM SO NOT UTILISING IT. I should write the most depressing/motivating book ever.

~ Me and my friend Jess with the Queen that is the Lord Mayor of Belfast and another lady who was so nice and whose name I cannot remember and it's driving me crazy. ~
So that was a great experience, I probably should have spent that week off studying but oh well, I can make up for it next week, HA. Since then I've been trying to survive school and there was a screening for the film project in Stormont which was really cool, and recently it was my little baby cousin's christening. He was technically christened in the ICU but we wanted to properly celebrate it and have a blessing in the Church. He is so beautiful and is not doing so well health-wise, and the more we learn from more and more test results and specialists the more difficult the future looks for him and his parents. It's so tragic and I really don't know what to do and wish I could help. I guess all anyone can do is have hope.I'd appreciate if anyone reading this said a lil prayer for him or even just a thought. I'm not religious but the rest of his family are so I respect the hope they find in it.

 I had a trip to Dublin for my uncle's birthday/anniversary party type thing in a really pretty hotel, and that was SO fun since like an entire side of my family was in one place. And it mainly consisted of me and my cousin/the cutest person ever goofing around like this:

I also have been enjoying journalling poetry a lot lately, mostly whatever I can come up with but I'm too chicken to put that online so here's an E.E Cummings one that's been in my head lately:

It wouldn't be a true post without some of my pointless and generic but pretty photos:

For the joys of the Lower Sixth Work Experience week, I went to a surgery and a literary agency. The surgery was really nice to go to, it was run by my parents' friends who are so lovely and a GP seems like such a nice job, I would love to be one when I'm kinda old and want to '''settle down''' because you can live anywhere in the world and still have a reliable, interesting job with a good income and the fulfilling nature of helping people everyday. I went to one in a very small village, so the GP had basically the responsibility of the health of an entire community on his shoulders. We went on house calls to elderly people and it was so nice, I could see myself enjoying it, but at the end of the day I don't really think it's for me. If I did medicine I'd want to go into Paediatrics. Maybe I'll try and find work experience relevant to that. 

I also did some work experience at a literary agency, which I loved! I didn't think I would love it so much. They don't even do work experience but the agency are trying to get some of my Dad's books published, so I got to be an exception (woo!). They are called the Feldstein Agency and what they do is they take on projects from authors and basically try and develop the project with them, whether it's editing the writing or designing the cover or the format or the title etc, then find the most suitable publishers and have meetings with them to sell it. I learned that in publishing there's Editorial, which is what everyone wants to do and apparently is filled with frustrated writers who want to have their own book published, and Rights, where they work with the rights of a book, like Foreign rights or film rights. There's also ghostwriting, which is so interesting to me. The Agent I was with had ghostwritten a really successful book, and I don't know how she does it because I would be so devastated seeing someone else take credit for my work, even if I signed up for it and was paid. But still, it's all so interesting and creative, and she's always travelling to NYC and London for Book Fairs and meetings with Publishers, and it seems like the final triumph of having each book published must be so exciting. So that was a really, really fun work experience and I actually am really considering a job related to that now. 

I've really liked this poem lately, but it's so long I'll just copy and paste a part I like:


And over the wrought-iron railing of the country club
to which neither of us could possibly belong,

in the moonskinned pool that seemed both to embody and imbibe
her, we improved.

And later, out on a green (to be sixteen!)
when the starshower I thought was mine

was mining me for sweat, muscle, memory
to make its own death

shine unceasingly inside of me,
even unto hell,
                               we excelled.

Can it be that her last name was really Key?

So much life in this poem
so much salvageable and saving love

but it is I fear I swear I tear open
what heart I have left

to keep it from being
and beating and bearing down upon me

What rest in faith
               from grief


I had a short essay (kind of like my last post) I wanted to include in this but this post is getting too long and the essay isn't finished and it's currently 5:09am so I should go eat ridiculously early breakfast or something (I woke up at 4am. Don't ask.) So, see you in the next post! This was kind of just a pointless filler post of me venting. And I leave you with this song because I've really been liking it lately. Ahhh the good ol' One Tree Hill soundtrack, that show is still the best.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Growing Up

Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others. 

 I have come to the conclusion that growing up is a myth. Or maybe, a device used to create the illusion of progress as we all try to be who we’re supposed to be. To give us hope, that if we keep learning from mistakes and changing our views into more educated, mature opinions we will somehow become Adults and therefore fulfil our epic destiny in this world. But what if that’s not the case? Growth is defined as the process of increasing in size, so theoretically, we are all always growing whether we recognise it or not, but luckily physicality and mentality are just sisters, not twins. Yes they influence each other, but they are never and should never be the same.

 I remember thinking growing up would be this magical movie-montage of stupid mistakes followed by moments of clarity and the occasional moments of devastation and triumph. It’s true that it still could be in the future, because really as long as you live, even though every living moment is one moment closer to death, you are still growing. This is a paradox in the nature of humankind that seems bittersweet but really, it’s just fair. But in reality it’s just a bunch of teenagers trying to cope with things whilst trying to cling to the safe, carefree nature of being a child.

 Wikipedia defines how to grow up in three steps: 1. discovering yourself, 2. acting mature, and 3. living responsibly. It’s common knowledge that wikipedia is always completely accurate, so this is helpful. It lets us skip the boring ‘figuring out what we actually need to figure out’ phase.  

 Let’s start with number 1. This is something I’ve always been intrigued by, the idea of ‘finding yourself,’ as if ‘you’ are not the person you choose to be at any given time, as if the Real You is a destination or a fictional being. So far the only things I’ve learned from trying to succeed in this stage are that the only real ways to ‘find’ who you are or, more importantly, who you want to be, are: firstly, figure out what kind of person you want to be. What traits you’re going to always prioritise, no matter what. Kindness? Confidence? Enthusiasm? Do you want to be the cool, although possibly condescending person who thrives on popularity or the cool, kind person who makes the happiness of others a priority, or, the cool, kaleidoscopic person who doesn’t necessarily want to be anything other than to have a fun life and see where it takes them. Regardless of anything you will be cool, obviously, because you’re reading this in the first place. But really all of this is trivial, because the liberty of it all is that we don’t actually have to choose.

 Number 2 is a stage I don’t think any of us have reached yet, and don’t intend to for as long as humanly possible. I could consider being mature if it accommodated things like watching movies at 2am on school nights and watching Lizzie McGuire episodes online when I want to feel 10 years old again. But sadly I don’t think if actions were categorised they would be filed under ‘maturity.’ Number 3 is on the same wavelength, we have plenty of time to be human moral compasses when we’re older, for now we just have to give things like decisions and responsibilities our best shot. 

What I’ve learned so far on the whole ‘growing up’ thing is that there is no right way to do it. A lot of the stereotypical aspects are true, such as learning from mistakes and discovering new things. But a lot of them aren’t. I think the only way to really ‘grow up’ is to do cheesy things like try your best at things, seek opportunities and change, learn as much as possible about anything and everything, as well as things like listening to every kind of music and attempting every kind of hobby, and not letting your view of yourself or others be blinded by trivial and temporary things like popularity or academic achievements. As long as you know that you don’t know who you are, and you’re confident and proud of your metamorphic state of being, you can face anything.

So if your life isn’t progressing as smoothly as the character that’s the same age as you on your favourite television show, don’t stress, because we’re all on the same boat here. Literally. I’m writing this on a cruise ship. Not really. But I wish I was. Because that joke would have been good and cruises happen to be way more fun than growing up. 

- All photos are ones I took on a walk through the Fairy Glen back in Autumn with Becca. My favourite place. -